I wrote my first book in 30 days. Here are 11 tips and tricks to writing a novel.
insider.com – Sunday July 24, 2022
In addition to working at Insider as an entertainment editor, this year I also became a published author.
My debut novel, "This Way Out," was published around the world on July 1.
It is the story of Amar, a British-Bangladeshi man who gets engaged to his partner, Joshua, and must tell his devout Muslim family that not only is he gay, but he's marrying a white man. Amar's confession sets off a chain of dramatic events — both heartbreaking and hilarious — as he navigates his family's disapproval of his sexuality, his continued grief over his mother, and a meddling future mother-in-law.
I wrote the first draft of "This Way Out" in one month, between mid-June and July 2020. It was a challenge, to say the least, but ultimately, I'm glad I pushed myself to write it so quickly. Or it might still only exist on my computer.
Here are my top tips if you want to turbo-boost your writing career and finish your manuscript, too.
Jason Mott on the Power of Routine, and Tackling Writer’s Block by Writing Badly
lithub.com – Wednesday June 29, 2022
Literary Hub: What time of day do you write?
Jason Mott: I write first thing in the morning. I get up at 5:30 am and head straight to the computer because I’ve found that the best time to write is when the rest of the world is sleeping. There are just fewer distractions and interruptions first thing in the morning.
LH: How do you tackle writer’s block?
JM: I write. I have a theory that writers block isn’t real. In my opinion, writers block is simply the fear of writing bad. So, on those tough days, I just go ahead and write badly. Eventually, my brain always figures out what it wants to say.
How I write: Screenwriter Kathryn Burnett on why a writing career is a marathon not a sprint
stuff.co.nz – Tuesday June 28, 2022
Kathryn Burnett has won the Best Drama Script at the NZTV Awards, for her co-writing of the tele-feature The Tender Trap (TVNZ On Demand). Kathryn is an award-winning professional screenwriter, playwright, public speaker and writing mentor/coach. Her latest play, The Campervan, is being produced by Tadpole Productions in September and will have an all-star New Zealand cast and is set to be directed by industry stalwart Simon Prast.
Clare Pooley on Writerly Perseverance and Knowing When To Give Up
lithub.com – Monday June 27, 2022
“You must never give up on writing itself. But sometimes you need to give up on what you’re writing.”
We’re often told that the key to becoming a published author is perseverance. “A professional writer,” according to Richard Bach, “is an amateur who didn’t quit.”
It takes a certain type of dogged determination—some might call it self-delusion—to get up before dawn for days, months, years on end and drag approximately 90,000 words out of your imagination onto a blank computer screen.
When I sat down to write my second novel, I thought that this time it would be easier. I knew I could do it—my debut, The Authenticity Project, had been a New York Times bestseller—and I already had fabulous publishers, in New York and London, waiting eagerly for the manuscript. No more wild flinging of submissions, with increasing desperation, into the farthest regions of the world wide web for me. Oh no.
The creative muse, it transpires, saves her most hysterical laughter for those of us who think it’s going to be easy.
A solution to writer’s block: Transcribe yourself
austinkleon.com – Friday June 24, 2022
Stewart Brand once said to Brian Eno: “Why don’t you assume you’ve written your book already — and all you have to do now is find it?”
I had long stared at blank word documents, unable to get my thoughts on the page. I’m actually not a great writer — but I am a pretty good speaker. So I went back through my social channels and transcribed every short form video I had ever done on this topic and that left me with all these disjointed paragraphs. I spent another two months trying to decide how to connect these little vignettes into a “real” book and finally realized that my choices were to publish an imperfect book or not publish the perfect book. So I decided to make each section its own chapter — some only a page long.
On Writing Unlikeable Characters
crimereads.com – Thursday June 23, 2022
When I set out to write my young adult novel Never Coming Home, my number one goal was to create a killer mystery. My number two was to write a cast of characters that the reader just couldn’t wait to see die. Never Coming Home is a contemporary, social media-based retelling of Agatha Christie’s And Then There Were None, the story of 10 strangers who are all invited to a mysterious island under sketchy circumstances. Once they arrive, it isn’t too long before they’re hit with the big M: murder.
While Queen Christie’s masterful storytelling and deft deployment of the red herring definitely drew me to the idea of reimagining this story, what really hooked me was that many of the characters in it were deliciously awful. Take beautiful, dumb Anthony Marston, whose selfishness is so pure that it’s almost to be admired. Almost. Or Emily Brent, a pious, self-righteous spinster who regularly indulges in the deadliest sin (pride, that is). Philip Lombard is the closest the book has to a hero, and he’s as morally gray as they come (though any quick scroll through #booktok will inform you that a morally gray hero is actually what the boys and girls want these days).
They Say It Only Takes One: My Year of Trying to Get an Agent, and Get Pregnant
lithub.com – Wednesday June 22, 2022
For as long as I’ve been a writer, the comparison that I’ve heard the most frequently used by artists of my ilk is that writing a book is like having a baby. As someone who has never had a baby, I imagine the truth of this likeness is that both take time and that both, once completed, are sent out into the world with little control over what happens next.
But what the comparison between writing a book and having a baby gets wrong is the assumption that the person writing the book or birthing that baby is in a position to both publish a book and procreate. Maybe this is why I’ve spent the last few months feeling unconvinced by the truth of this likeness. Is writing a book like having a baby? Sure, if you can get an agent and can get pregnant.
I, unfortunately, haven’t been able to do either.
My journey to getting a book deal
dailykos.com – Tuesday June 21, 2022
So much about making a career as a writer is opaque and exclusionary. There’s also a lot that, frankly, simply depends on your specific situation. It’s hard to give advice that will work for everyone, much less most people. All of that said, I shared a bit about my experience finding a literary agent for my novel (you can check that out here if you’d like) and now that I’ve sold my first book, I figured I would return and share a bit more for anyone who might be considering a similar path.
The biggest caveat here is that this is all what my experience was like. So many other writers have had wildly different journeys. No one’s path is better than anyone else’s and it is (truly) never a reflection of your worth or merit as a writer. It can be oddly tempting to think about folks who get major house auctions within a few days of going on submission, but really, don’t torture yourself.
Good God, I can’t publish this…
thecritic.co.uk – Monday June 20, 2022
The literary rejection is almost a genre in itself. It has shaken the confidence of every writer in history. The best examples are to be found wherever there is a publisher armed with a power complex, a sense of literary inferiority and a ready wit. In recent years, the soft thud of the manuscript on the hall floor has been gradually replaced by the pernicious ping of the inbox. It does seem that the email is a paler version of the quintessential letter of the past.
Back in the 60s, Sylvia Plath boldly claimed, “I love my rejection slips. They show me I try”. This was in spite of being told by a publisher that she didn’t have “enough genuine talent for us to take notice”.
Stephen King kept his rejection letters on a spike while Hemingway mutilated his — and no wonder. Mrs Moberley Luger of Peacock & Peacock (surely a parody of a publisher if ever there was one) sent Hemingway an intensely personal missive on the shortcomings of The Sun Also Rises: “I may be frank, Mr Hemingway — you certainly are in your prose — I found your efforts to be both tedious and offensive. You really are a man’s man, aren’t you? I wouldn’t be surprised to hear that you had penned this entire story locked up at the club, ink in one hand, brandy in the other.” She went on to berate his writing style with “I daresay my young son could do better!” and of the novel’s hero she unleashed this zinger, “I doubt he’d have the energy to turn the page to find out what happened to himself”.
Literary agents share the magic ingredients they’re looking for in a novel
metro.co.uk – Monday June 20, 2022
What keeps you hooked when you’re reading a novel?
Twists and turns? Great characters? Writing that makes you feel warm and fuzzy inside?
Identifying the things that make a good book can be key when it comes to writing your own fiction. But what are experts in the industry looking for in new fiction writing?
We asked Lizzy Kremer, Jemima Forrester and Maddalena Cavaciuti, all literary agents at David Higham Associates, to share their magic ingredients for fiction.